The Queensland Premier has announced the state’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate will soon apply to teachers and childcare workers.
All staff at schools, childcare centres, correctional and youth detention facilities and airports have been included in the “high risk” category.
It means they will need to have at least one dose of a vaccine by December 17 and be fully vaccinated by January 23, 2022.
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Annastacia Palaszczuk told state parliament on Tuesday, extending the mandate to school staff was a necessary step.
“We are taking this strong action to protect vulnerable Queenslanders,” she said.
“It is action that is consistent with other states and territories such as New South Wales and Victoria.
“If you can’t be vaccinated we want to make sure those around you are vaccinated.
“We know that children under 12 cannot access the vaccination.
“We want to do everything we can to protect these young people.”
Education Minister Grace Grace said the move would help to keep schools open throughout 2022.
“We take the health of children in our care very seriously indeed,” Ms Grace told parliament.
“We have a responsibility to protect the more than 500,000 children under 12 in Queensland schools and even more in early childhood centres that can’t yet get vaccinated and we have a responsibility to parents and carers who want to know their children and in a safe environment.
“This afternoon, I will be briefing key stakeholders on the announcement including professional associations, unions and representatives from the independent, Catholic and early childhood sectors.
“This action will ensure we keep our children and our education workforce safe and keep our schools and early education centres open.”
Meantime, the Premier insists the plan to reopen the borders on December 17 remains on track despite the new “unknown enemy” that is the Omicron variant.
“Our plans to allow quarantine-free interstate travel for fully vaccinated people have not been affected,” she said.
“Queensland is in such a strong position because we still require 14 days hotel quarantine for international arrivals.
“Our cautious and measures approach means anyone who has recently arrived from countries where it is already circulating is already in hotel quarantine in Queensland.”
There have been no new local COVID-19 cases in Queensland in the last 24 hours.
There were two cases recorded in hotel quarantine, both in travellers from Melbourne.